The latest in the Kingdom of Durham County where the rule of law is whatever they say it is...
Boy says he was mistreated by officers
Internal inquiry starts in Durham
Matt Dees, Staff Writer
DURHAM - Police have launched an internal investigation into allegations that a 13-year-old boy was wrestled to the ground, handcuffed and pepper-sprayed Monday, though he had done nothing wrong.
Delquan Pilgrim was walking to a convenience store on Enterprise Street about 4:30 p.m. when officers stopped him, his father, Eppert Lowery, said the boy told him.
The officers pushed Delquan to the ground and used pepper spray on him, Lowery said his son recalled.
"They just said he looked suspicious," Lowery said. "Ninety-five percent of the people in the neighborhood look suspicious."
Delquan wasn't charged with any crime. The officers took him to Duke Hospital for treatment of cuts and other minor injuries, where he was left for several hours without his parents being contacted, Lowery said.
Lowery said he spent years as a juvenile corrections officer, and he said there are techniques for restraining youngsters.
Those techniques don't include choke holds and other rough treatment that the boy said he received, Lowery said.
"I mean, he's a little bony-rony thing," Lowery said. "They just went a little bit too far."
Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said no one has been taken off duty while the incident is investigated.
She said that Deputy Chief Ron Hodge has contacted Delquan's father. She said she couldn't comment about specifics while the inquiry was under way.
Lowery said that Hodge apologized. But Lowery said that needs to come from the officer who allegedly assaulted his son.
"No one's really given us a sincere apology," Lowery said.
The Rev. Melvin Whitley, a community activist who was contacted about the case, said police have told him they can't confront drug dealers without probable cause.
"I can't get them to stop people who are selling drugs on my street corners," Whitley said. "But they're stopping this child, 13 years old, 125 pounds. And that's with all his clothes on."
It's the latest racially tinged incident raising questions about Durham police conduct.
Gary P. Lee, 38, and Scott C. Tanner, 33, were fired from the force recently for their alleged role in a fight outside a Raleigh sports bar. The black victim alleges the white off-duty officers used racial slurs against him, though a police investigation couldn't confirm that.
Whitley noted the officers who who allegedly assaulted Delquan are white. Delquan is black.
"If the officers were green, I'd feel the same way," Whitley said. "I ain't got a clue why the police officer chose to stop this one little child."
Staff writer Matt Dees can be reached at 956-2433 or email@example.com.
Police turn to psychic for help
By BriAnne Dopart, The Herald-Sun
September 27, 2006 10:54 pm
DURHAM -- After exhausting all leads in the murder case of Janet Abaroa, Durham police homicide investigators are turning to a famed psychic for help.
Lead homicide investigator Jack Cates confirmed Wednesday that investigator S.W. Vaughan has begun using a psychic to assist in developing leads in the 17-month-old probe into the stabbing death of the 25-year-old wife and mother.
Raven Abaroa reported discovering his wife's body in the couple's Ferrand Drive home on April 26, 2005. The murder weapon was never recovered, and while police would not say if there were signs of forced entry into the home, they said they believed the murder "was not a random act."
Cates would not confirm the identity of the psychic, but a source with knowledge of the case told The Herald-Sun that high-profile psychic Laurie McQuary of Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Management by Intuition, had stepped in to help develop leads.
The Herald-Sun was unable to reach McQuary for comment Wednesday.
McQuary, who has appeared on the Court TV show "Psychic Detectives" and been featured on CNN's "Larry King Live," has worked with law enforcement since 1985, according to her Web site. She has aided in investigations ranging from missing persons to homicides. She is married to a former Oregon homicide detective whom she met while working on a case.
That story is the subject of a book and a documentary that has aired on the Lifetime cable channel.
Janet Abaroa's sister, Dena Kendall, said the family has long been encouraging homicide investigators to use a psychic in hopes that investigators might uncover evidence that will lead to an arrest.
"We'll do anything we can to help solve the case," Kendall said. "We'll do whatever it takes."
Chief Steve Chalmers said he wasn't aware Vaughan had begun using the help of a psychic in the Abaroa murder investigation but said that it didn't surprise him.
He has encouraged all of his investigators to "get creative and think outside the box," he said.
"We're going to use every tool available to us to substantiate evidence," he added. "There are people who believe in it and people who don't. But we have a responsibility to gather any evidence we can. It's our responsibility to seek out those individuals who can help us regardless of any cynicism."
The Herald-Sun could not confirm if McQuary was being paid by anyone for her services. The city's Finance Department reported that no checks had been issued to anyone by her name.
Although instances are few and far between, the Abaroa case is not the first time Durham law enforcement has been assisted by a psychic, according to Capt. Paul Martin of the Sheriff's Office.
Martin, a former captain with the Durham Police Department, recalled Sheriff's Office investigators using the assistance of psychic Dorothy Allison in the search for the body of 13-year-old Darlene Tilley in the fall of 1980.
"It's something that has been done around the country for a while now ... the success rate I don't know," Martin said.
"I would do anything to clear a difficult case," he added.
Durham resident Gerald Endress said he wasn't surprised to learn that police had enlisted McQuary's assistance, especially since the idea of involving psychics in investigations has been so popularized on television. If all other leads have been exhausted, Endress said, using a psychic might be a good idea.
Resident Kathy Fitts agreed, but said she hoped tax dollars aren't being used to foot the bill.
"You expect your tax dollars to be going to city improvements ... not toward things you would hope the police department would be able to do on their own," she said.
URL for this article: http://www.heraldsun.com/durham/4-773718.html
A troubling look at gang violence
September 27, 2006 4:14 pm
If anyone needs a reminder that violent gangs continue to plague Durham, look no further than Wednesday's Herald-Sun. In that edition, two articles by John Stevenson describe the impact of gangs on two cases now in court.
In one, Breon Jerrard Beatty, 17, is charged with killing Anontio Demetrius Dent, also 17, in a parking lot off North Roxboro Road last year. The details of who shot whom aren't in dispute. Instead, the case hinges around whether Beatty, as his defense lawyer argues, was acting in self-defense when he shot Dent four times. Evidence indicates the shooting may have been a dispute over the turf of the Bloods, a violent street gang.
In this case, the culture of gangs and guns stretches the definition of self-defense to the breaking point. Think of a Wild West culture in which two heavily armed men face off on either side of a public street. They have both threatened each other's lives in the past, and they both have murder on their minds. When the bullets start flying, can either one, or both, claim self-defense?
It's a far different situation than one in which an innocent person, minding his or her own business, is suddenly forced into desperate self-defense.
The second trial is that of Calvin Nicholson, accused of fatally shooting Todd Antonio Douglas on Bacon Street. Nicholson reportedly told police that he shot Douglas as a gang initiation that he later regretted.
In the trial, five prosecution witnesses have told Judge Robert Hobgood they would refuse to testify against Nicholson. Prosecutor Tracey Cline said some of them had been threatened. The situation was difficult for the veteran prosecutor and the judge.
Cline admitted to being "at a loss" about how to proceed. Judge Hobgood said an investigation should be held into who is intimidating witnesses. We agree. Those who terrorize witnesses mock the notions of justice and fair trial. They need to be brought to justice themselves.
Durham city and county recently joined to spend $60,000 to have a study on Durham gangs conducted. While we don't hold out hope for any major revelations, we hope the study will provide some useful data about the extent of gangs in Durham, and will help us qualify for further funding.
But we don't need a study to tell us whether gangs in Durham are a problem. That, we know already.
URL for this article: http://www.heraldsun.com/opinion/hsedits/56-773576.html
Tennessee ousts rotten DA --
NASHVILLE The state Supreme Court temporarily suspended a district attorney general from practicing law in an order released Monday while an investigation of professional misconduct continues...
He is under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for allegedly writing letters to an inmate without the knowledge of his attorney and discussing the mans guilty plea.
The court concluded that Gibson "poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public."